I’ve worked a thousand hours for ten seconds of fun and I’ll do it again because I’m stupid. Better yet, I’m an addict. A Mega Truck Addict. Long before mega truck was a term, I had the disease. As my sport grows, my condition worsens. I could have bought a yacht with all the money I’ve dumped into my truck. But what the hell would I do with a yacht? Probably sink it… Anyway, I am certain that there must have been wiser ways to spend my hard earned cash. My children will never have college funds because Daddy’s gone mega truckin. So, what is so addicting? Well, driving my truck is a great rush, but it don’t last long and then it takes a wheel barrow load of cash and hundreds of hours of hard labor to put ‘er back together again. Surely I could get a rush just as good from jumping a four wheeler or banging my head against a wall and those are activities that you can do all day long! I think it’s the idea of the whole thing that has me hooked. I took an antique Dodge Power Wagon and built it into a mega truck with nothing but a vision, some crappy tools, and calloused hands. I do backflips in it and I’ve got fans who I know are willing to put their own sweat and blood into it; just to see me get it going again.
When I set off on my world tour back in April 2011, I was hungry for attention. The first place I went was Dennis Anderson’s. My truck didn’t belong there and I didn’t get what I was after. What I did get was a beginning to a story of a place that has become like a second home to me and my family. In September 2011, Dennis advertised the first ever mega truck freestyle contest. You can bet your boots I was there but, once again I didn’t get what I was after. I raced my junk in a race it didn’t belong in and turned it over on both runs crushing my roof and roll cage and almost killing me. I sat on the side of the track and watched a sixteen year old kid in his daddy’s monster truck fly higher than the telephone poles and crash down to earth on his grille, tumble end over end, and throttle right out of it and keep going. I felt like someone had beaten me into the ground with a sledge hammer and I hadn’t done anything nearly as glorious as monster truck kid. I spent that night in an abandoned school bus and learned something I never knew “southern belles”. Anyway, the next morning I had my first conversation with Dennis Anderson. I wanted to know what they were using that I wasn’t. He taught me about ratcheting harnesses, hans devices, and foam padding.
I went home from Currituck two inches shorter than when I had arrived. I had a plan to rebuild my truck into something more indestructible and something as safe as what monster trucks had. It’s five years later now and I can tell you that I am more well known at the 711 in Currituck than the one in my hometown. I’m one of only two people to do a backflip there. Now for a bit of mega truck backflip history. Back in 2012, Cory Rummell convinced the owner of Yankee Lake to build him a ramp. He did not find success there, but he did learn a thing or two and he stuck with it. In August of 2013 he pulled it off at the first Trucks Gone Wild event at Michigan Mud Jam which was not long after Dennis Anderson asked me to try it in his hometown. I pulled it off and a month later I convinced Joey Adams to build me a ramp at West Georgia Mud Park. As soon as my truck was drug out of the way, Al Abercrombie went for it and wrecked badly. Sadly, he never got to try it again. Not long after that, Dusty Ramacher followed and went for a wild ride in his Reckless S10. Mad Max has destroyed everything in his path trying to get it done and it’s starting to seem like doing a successful backflip in a truck is just as difficult as it ought to be. Earlier this year Matt Smith nearly died trying it. And just recently Bobby Barta got it done in his tractor tired monster truck.
Now all of these stories are in my head to stay. I can promise you it doesn’t make it any easier standing in front of a twenty foot tall wall that I promised to drive into knowing that my friends have nearly died trying it. Anyhow, I’m on an adventure and I’m not about to let fear of the end slow me down. My family packed into our “house car” and made our way down the old familiar path to the Damm Park. When we got there, I found Les and Stick fixing up the backflip ramp that I failed on a month earlier. I asked them, “Who’s doing a backflip?” They laughed and said, “You are. Nobody else is that stupid”. Then I found out that Dennis had been on the radio that morning advertising that I was going for it. “I didn’t tell anyone I was coming”, I said. “Facebook man” Stick told me.
So there I was, sleep deprived and cold, changing my transmission out in an October storm in the dark Friday night before the event. I wasn’t alone though. My friends and fans were there pushing me along. By lunchtime Saturday it was good enough to go.
Now, this was the annual cargo race where junk cars pull a wagon around the track. It made my day when the Got Wood race team gave me a Jeep to run in the race. I even won a prize for the most popular rig. Things were going good until the wheels fell off the wagon and I got disqualified. Racing has too many rules for me.
As if this day wasn’t good enough to me, it was my sons first race on his power wheels at six months old. I understand that when you stare into a woman waiting for your baby to arrive you never know what you’re gonna get. But, tradition says to name it first, so we named our boy after the Grave Digger and we got a boy that fits his name. My boy will outrun any six month old out there on his four wheeler and he’s got a trophy to prove it. Hell, I don’t even have a trophy. After an eventful day, the anxiety and anticipation approach. I strap myself into my truck and wait. Only two people are willing to take their trucks out and freestyle them and Chris Papa was up first. One big jump ate his pretty rig up and I was next in the short lineup. A month prior I didn’t have enough speed and it was time for redemption. Dennis and I figured that this time I should keep it down in second gear instead of giving it a chance to dog down in high gear. I went around the track to play with my speed. Lou Bercy once told me something that I found funny and true. He said that I will never learn how to drive my truck because every time I get in it, it has been rebuilt into something completely different. As I rolled around the track, I realized that I had the shocks way too stiff and it felt like I had twelve inch Skyjacker leaf springs up front. Just running over ruts was beating me up, but when it’s time to go I go. So back to the speed. Second didn’t seem right and I was running out of time to decide. So I approached in second, mashed the throttle, and at the last moment, banged ‘er into third. I went for a ride in the Carolina sky and when I planted my flying, flipping, Power Wagon back on earth I snapped u-joints, axles, yokes, flanges, and the transfer case output shaft. With all of the important pieces to my puzzle scattered around Currituck, my run was over. That old feeling of failure began to creep over me.
A lot of people would never know it, but my goal is to never break my truck. Overtime while I rebuild it, I try to improve it and I always think it’s better than before so when it self destructs in two seconds, I have let myself down. Luckily, it was an amazing two seconds and Dennis and Ryan came running over to congratulate me. I had never seen them so excited so I knew that I had done good. And to cap off an amazing day in my history, Dennis Anderson got on his microphone and said more than a few kind words about me. I spent the rest of the night taking pictures with my fans, writing my name on stuff, and chasing my wild kids around. I’ve been working at this dream of mine for a long time, and if success is counted in dollars, then I’m a failure. I don’t have a single sponsor. I’ve worked for every part on that truck and every broken part in the scrap pile. But success don’t get measured by dollar bills in my book. I left home looking for respect years ago and now I’ve got what I went looking for.
Until next time friends,